The museum contingent at Pride 2016. Photo (c) Dan Vo

Museums, galleries and archives join forces at Pride 2016

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 29.06.2016
150-strong contingent marches under MA banner
The Museums Association (MA) team joined a 150-strong party of staff from museums, galleries and archives to march at the Pride parade in London last Saturday.

It was the first time people from different institutions came together to represent the museum sector as a whole at the parade. Staff from Royal Museums Greenwich, the Jewish Museum London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, the Horniman Museum and many more all joined forces to march under the MA banner and raise the profile of museums as queer-friendly spaces.

The group shared leaflets with onlookers highlighting the LGBTQ+ stories that are represented in museum collections, such as a brief history of the quote “rum, sodomy and the lash” by the National Maritime Museum, and the Horniman’s shrine to Baron Samedi, the Haitian Vodou spirit often depicted as bisexual or transgendered.

After such a high turnout, the group is already planning ahead for the 2017 Pride festival. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality, and museums across the UK will play a key role in celebrating the milestone and telling LGBTQ+ histories.
The MA’s director Sharon Heal said: “I was delighted that the MA could work with staff from a number of museums to help bring a contingent together for London Pride. It was great to take part in the parade and highlight the fact that museums can tell diverse stories and are places that can help us all understand our identity.”


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12.07.2016, 17:01
Can someone please explain what this has to do with museums? Our job is to explore collections for inspiration, learning, and enjoyment and to collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which we hold in trust for society. Since when was it the purpose of Museums - or the Museums Association - to take part in activist marches with no direct connection to collections, their care or interpretation, and our duty to the wider society? Particularly when these marches don't reflect the views of many MA members, and are a source of grave offence and sadness. Were members consulted about this? How much thought was given to the reputation of the MA when deciding to participate in this event?
Sharon Heal
Director, Museums Association
13.07.2016, 12:48
I think there's a very clear link between this issue, museums. the objects that they hold, the stories that they can tell, and the audiences they work with. The Museums Association is committed to championing equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector and in all that we do as an organisation. I for one am proud of these values and was thrilled to work with colleagues from a broad range of museums to bring the contingent together. I think that celebrating diversity enhances our reputation as an organisation and that our commitment to equality as a basic human right is supported by our members and the public.